Above: Dominican FM Carlos Morales Troncoso and Puerto Rico Secretary of State David Bernier
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are looking to “relaunch” bilateral ties between the two Caribbean neighbours.
Puerto Rico Secretary of State David Bernier made a high-profile visit to the Dominican Republic this week, holding talks with Dominican President Danilo Medina and Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso.
The talks with Medina covered business development, agriculture, energy, aviation and shipping, among other areas.
Medina and Bernier additionally discussed the regional problem of aviation, planning a joint search for alternatives to reduce the cost of air and sea transport between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Another main talking point was the possibility that the US territory and the Dominican Republic could purchase fuel jointly, given their proximity.
“Right now we are pointing our determination to make viable the joint acquisition of fuel by the two countries in international markets, guaranteeing increased volume and a decrease in cost,” Medina said.
“With this visit, and a future visit of Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, we are seeing a revival of bilateral relations,” Troncoso said.
The two sides discussed possible agreements in areas such as trade, agriculture, education, manufacturing and housing, according to a Dominican government statement.
While the volume of business between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic stood about $2 billion a decade ago, that number has since fallen by around 40 percent, the Dominican Republic said, although Troncoso said that legislation targeting the Dominican Republic’s textile and footwear sectors could lead to an increase in the number.
It’s not yet clear when Padilla will make an official visit, although Padilla and Medina have held a seemingly cordial relationship since Padilla phoned Medina following the Dominican Republic’s victory over Puerto Rico in the recent World Baseball Classic.
Medina called the move “a gesture of Caribbean fellowship.”